CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will host a conference of scholars on Feb. 14-15 to examine the May Fourth Movement, a critical point in Chinese history, as well as other factors that influenced the modernization of China in the 20th century.
This conference, "In Search of Modernity: The May Fourth Movement," will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Joyce Powell Leadership Room in OSU's Memorial Union. It is free and open to the public.
A number of scholars from universities throughout the U.S., as well as Asia, Australia and Europe, will present their research.
The May Fourth Movement, also known as the "New Culture Movement," took place from 1915 to 1921. Chinese radicals believed that to modernize China and its society, they had to reject Chinese culture and values, according to Hung-Yok Ip, an associate professor of history at OSU. As they fervently pursued science and democracy, which they regarded as the essence of modern western culture, they also became interested in socialism and communism, which they viewed as "better versions of democracy."
"When historians study the Chinese struggle to modernize in the 20th century, they always focus on the May Fourth Movement," Ip said. "The purpose of the conference is to move beyond May Fourth themes of anti-traditionalism, science, democracy and socialism to explore the plural nature of Chinese modernity in the 20th century."
Among the presenters are Cai Zhongqi, the University of Illinois; Chen Jianhau, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology; Kai-wing Chow, University of Illinois; Fa-ti Fan, State University of New York-Binghamton; Edmund Fung, University of Western Sydney; Denise Gimpel, Philipps-Universitat in Marburg; Tze-ki Hon, State University of New York-Geneseo; Ted Huters, UCLA; Fred Lau, University of Hawaii; Chiu-chun Lee, Chinese Culture University in Taipei; Viren Murthy, University of Chicago; Kristine Stapleton, University of Kentucky; Lung-kee Sun, University of Memphis; Xiong Yuezhi, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences; Peter Zarrow, Academia Sinica of Taiwan; and Ip of OSU.
A panel of scholars analyzing the presentations include Arif Dirlik, University of Oregon; Robert and Mary Jo Nye of OSU; Don Price of the University of California-Davis; Zarrow and Huters.
The conference is sponsored by the Thomas and Mary Jones Horning Endowment at OSU and the University of California's Pacific Rim Research Office, with support from OSU's Center for the Humanities, and SUNY's Department of History.